This week, I have Struggled (with a capital “S”) to find something for which to be grateful. Although I try not to follow the news too frequently, the news has a habit of finding me. And, too often, the news is not pretty. I previously mentioned that in a post not too long ago, along with a call to action for all of my readers.
However, this week, I need to focus on the negativity, in order to get to The Gratitude Project.
How may of you have heard of the most recent school shooting? Freeman High School did not hold any particular meaning to me when I was in high school. However, the Scotties hold a close piece of my heart because I have relatives who currently attend the school. This past week, one student went to school and opened fire, killing a fellow student, and wounding three others. The shooter was arrested.
Thankfully, my relatives are physically safe, but no doubt psychologically traumatized – as are any student who lives through a school shooting. Being a country away, I am helpless, as I only have the news to feed me information, or whatever my family is able to share.
As I processed the emotions of feeling helpless, angry, disturbed, and let’s be honest – afraid for the world my children are growing up in, I woke up this morning to another story making international news.
Part of me worries that our society – our culture – is becoming complacent. Oh, “another” school shooting,” or, “another” terrorist attack. The complacency will eventually lead to further atrocities, as bad people try to out-do each other in a bid for attention. If you want a child-friendly, watered-down explanation of this, I highly recommend watching “Despicable Me.”
Which leads me to this week’s Gratitude Project.
Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers) is credited with saying,
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
I am grateful for those helpers:
For the custodian who talked the shooter down at the high school;
For the students who have pulled together to process the horrific tragedy at their school;
For the clinicians who spent hours triaging all students and teachers who were requesting time to sit with a counselor.
I am grateful for the individuals who helped an injured person seek medical care in a part of the world I have only visited in my deepest dreams and desires;
For the handlers who work with dogs trained to detect explosive devices;
I am grateful for the emergency personnel who respond to all horrific tragedies.
Throughout Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, we witnessed those helpers highlighted in news stories – the random, individual citizen who loaded up their boat and headed in to evacuated areas to assist in rescue efforts; or, the furniture store owner who opened up two of his stores to provide shelter to those evacuating Hurricane Harvey. We heard about the adults wading through waist-high water, to help rescue strangers and their children.
There are unsung heroes all around us!
We are surrounded by the helpers.
We have an obligation to BE the helpers.
So, if you are a helper – I am grateful for you.
If you have been a helper in the past, I am grateful for you.
If you are willing to be a helper if you are ever in the horrific place in which you are called to witness, experience, and assist during a tragedy, then I am grateful for you.
Let us not become complacent. Let us not allow tragedies to become run-of-the-mill. Let us not let our anger over tragedies subside.
Yet, let our anger fuel us to productive ends – to being helpers when we are called upon to do so.
I’d love to hear from you – what are you most grateful for this week?
Until next week, dear reader…